The Church of England has launched an initiative to address the imbalance in UK Minority Ethnic (ME) clergy in senior positions, with a plan to double numbers within 10 years.
The initiative, called Turning Up the Volume, has been set up by the House of Bishops, and is working on a clear plan to address any issues which may be hindering the appointment of UK ME clergy to senior posts. The Task Group organising the initiative is being led by the Bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff, and includes 12 lay and ordained members of the church.
Bishop James said: "When I was asked to lead this initiative, I was very clear that it is vital not only for the well-being of the Church of England, but also for the credibility of our mission to the nation. For as long as we have a senior leadership with such a low representation of UK ME clergy, we will not be seen as a church which is for all the people of our nation."
Revd Canon Rosemarie Mallett, Vicar and member of the task group, said:
"This may seem a tall order in a short time, but we believe that the people are out there, and those in leadership positions should be actively working to help identify them and offer them opportunities to undertake the necessary training to apply for such posts. The appointments process will then be able to choose from the best candidates on the day."
At present, there are fewer than 10 UK minority ethnic people holding senior positions, including the Archbishop of York, one dean and three archdeacons, and while there has been an increase of UK ME ordinands of 20% since 2005, official figures for UK ME clergy still only represent 3% of all stipendary clergy.
Dr Elizabeth Henry, National Adviser on Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns and member of the Panel said:
"We believe it is imperative to take positive action in tackling inequalities: it is through initiatives like this that we can seriously address and work towards the elimination of this inequality in senior clergy positions. It is our hope that this and efforts to increase UK ME vocations to ordained ministry will result in much needed greater diversity in the Church at every level."
More information on the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns